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Tuesday
Aug142012

Heather scares a celebrity.  Again.

  The next time I have an opportunity to meet one of my idols, can someone please stop me?  Use whatever means are necessary – chloroform, a baseball bat, whatever.

I went to Denver last night for a reading and book signing by Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, who I admire greatly.  She deals with depression, anxiety and sometimes-debilitating rheumatoid arthritis, and yet she’s managed to build a hilarious blog with gazillions of followers and now has a book that’s been on the New York Times bestseller list for 14 weeks.  As someone who once dropped a creative writing class because the teacher said on the first day, “I expect everyone to participate in discussions,” it means a lot to me to see a shy, anxious woman achieve so much success.

This was the second time I met Jenny Lawson, the first time being about a year ago at the BlogHer conference in San Diego.  Because of her extreme anxiety, the organizers of one of the parties built a large, fake bathroom in the corner of a ballroom so Jenny could stay in there while still being part of the party.  (Thus alleviating her need to go find an actual bathroom to hide in.)

When I met Jenny that time, I was a little tipsy and I gushed about how much I love her blog, and then asked for a photo with her.

This is about when my turn-into-an-idiot-in-front-of-people-I-admire gene kicked in.

Jenny agreed to the photo and said, “If you post this online, you have to Photoshop it to make me look skinny.”

There are so many things I could have said here.  Maybe a laugh and a Don’t be ridiculous!  You’re beautiful!  Or something self-deprecating to show that I, too, wish to be skinnier.

Instead, I got a worried look on my face and said, “I don’t have Photoshop.”

I. Don’t. Have. Photoshop.

I may as well have said, “There’s no way iPhoto is powerful enough to make you look pretty!”

I almost immediately wanted to stab myself in the brain.

Fast-forward to last night, when I had a chance to redeem myself during this book-signing event.  Jenny was lovely and hilarious and so very nice during her reading and the Q&A that followed.  Then we lined up to get our books signed, and I had a good hour to come up with something to say that would capture how much I admire her.

Here are some things that crossed my mind to say:

“Thank you for being such an inspiration to all of us anxious, depressed girls in the world.”

“I love that you’ve been able to achieve so much based mostly on your silly personality.  Keep being you, because you’re awesome.”

Or even, “What the fuck is up with Nathan Fillion?”

Instead, this is the conversation I actually had with her: 

ME: I met you once before.

HER: Oh?

ME: Last year, in San Diego.  You were hiding in the bathroom.

HER:  Oh. … Heh.  … Yeah, we bathroom buddies share a special bond …  Did you want to take a picture?

No context, nothing.  Just “you were hiding in the bathroom.”

That’s me, folks.  Making celebrities uncomfortable since 2002.  What a shitty superpower.

Wednesday
Jul252012

Break

I’m sure you all will be shocked to learn this, but I survived my summer class and so did all of my patients (to my knowledge).  And now, for the first time since January – or last August, really – I’m taking a break.  I’ve had some school breaks since last August, yes, but every one of them involved studying and/or panicking about something school related, so they don’t count because the stress level was still high.  And also you wouldn’t feel as sorry for me if I said this is my first break since May, which is technically true but still involved lots of prep work for the intense summer class.  And really, we all know that the point of most of my blog posts is to elicit sympathy from my readers.  (Ha!  Like I still have any of those…)

My last day of clinical was on a Wednesday, and we worked at the hospital for half a day and then went out for margaritas to reflect on what we learned this semester.  On the first day we met our clinical instructor, she told us about herself and happened to include the fact that she likes to do “fairy readings.”  Personally, I didn’t know what a fairy reading was, but I was pretty sure I wanted one.  Fast forward to the last day when we were all gathered around our lunch table and not at all tipsy.  The instructor was wearing her fairy hat – it helps her communicate with the fairies, duh – and pulled out a stack of cards much like Tarot cards except they don’t ever predict death or dismemberment.

As the instructor worked her way around the table, I listened as my classmates were told to follow their instincts, to trust in themselves and that they were living good lives and could expect to live happily ever after.  So imagine my surprise when the fairies just told me to get some exercise.

Were it an actual conversation with the fairies, I imagine it going something like this:

FAIRIES: Have confidence, young nurse! You will do great things!  And you, sir, are a good person!  You, my dear, need to trust your instincts!  And you, sweetheart … um … how do we put this delicately?  We didn’t want to be the ones to tell you this, but you’re getting a little chubby.

ME: Fuck you, fairies, I’m finishing this plate of enchiladas, AND this margarita non-alcoholic beverage.

To be fair, they may have a point.  This whole nursing school thing, with the studying and the stress and the fact that peanut butter M&Ms are a really tasty studying snack, has caused a bit of expansion in my waistline.  Let’s use the term “womanly curves” so I can feel a little more sexy and a little less squishy.

I was sort of pissed at the fairies all afternoon, and apparently my bitching wasn’t entirely in my head because my instructor eventually asked me if I wanted another reading.  Of course I did.  This time, the fairies told me to take a vacation.  Give myself a break.  Etc.  I think they mostly wanted me to stop saying “Fuck the fairies!” in the middle of downtown Manitou Springs.

A couple of my classmates are avid Facebookers and posted pictures of our very sober afternoon playing Skee-Ball and Dance Dance Revolution at Manitou’s outdoor-ish arcade, including one photo in which I look a good five months pregnant.  Now, I was packed with some tasty enchiladas at the time, but I’d think that would only equate to looking maybe three and a half months along.

And so this break, which lasts three and a half more weeks, has so far involved me taking the fairies’ advice and relaxing.  (You thought I was going to say exercising, right?  You don’t know me at all.)  But I have been thinking very hard about taking the plastic wrap off the Jillian Michaels DVDs I bought several months ago.  I even made the claim that I would start the 30-Day Shred yesterday and then somehow that didn’t happen because I was too busy practicing my relaxation skills by napping half the day.  I did, however, play “Nickelodeon Dance” on the Kinect with Kaylee last night, which is practically the same as letting Jillian Michaels show me how out of shape I am.  That Dora the Explorer can be a real slave driver.  Plus I kind of hurt my arm doing the Cabbage Patch and don’t think I should be starting an intense exercise program right now.  I should ease into this, right?

At the very least, I should wait until I recover from the crick in my neck caused by all the napping.

Monday
May212012

Brave

When we first moved Robbie to a toddler bed a couple weeks ago, he started coming out of his room by himself, shuffling out into the dark house, clutching his Thomas the Train blanket and looking for me and Rob. The second night of this new independence, I heard his door slam shut at about 5:30 a.m., and then I heard a timid voice on the landing outside our door saying, “I'm not scared. I'm not scared.”

I rescued him immediately, because this is what my boy says when he's frightened but trying to be brave.

* * *

A couple of weeks ago I also wrapped up my first semester of nursing school. Although I was taking classes last fall, they didn't have impressive-sounding names like Pathophysiology, Pharmacology and Pharmacological Math. And getting a 73 average last fall wouldn't have gotten me kicked out of school. So there's a bit more pressure, is what I'm saying.

But the semester went fine and I was never even close to the do-not-cross line of 74%.

Those of us who started nursing classes in the spring are required to take a six-credit course this summer, as well. It's called Fundamentals of Nursing, or just Fundamentals if you're hip to the jargon like I am. (Do the kids even say “hip” anymore? I have no idea.) The thing about this class is that it's only seven weeks long. Oh, and one more thing: It's the first class where we go into the hospital and care for patients.

I mean, sure, we practiced taking blood pressure and assessing problems last semester, but we did it on each other. This semester we will be doing these things on patients, where it actually matters if we fuck up. There can be no “Oopsie, I made a little error in my calculations and gave my patient 1,000 mg of this powerful drug instead of 10 mg. Can I have a do-over?” (There will be someone with experience watching our every move, but it's still a little overwhelming to think about.)

Fundamentals started today, and the professor said the first thing she wanted to do was ease our anxiety. Then she proceeded to tell us that, by the end of these seven weeks, we will each be caring for a couple patients at a time, all by ourselves.

I'm not scared.

I'm not scared.

Wednesday
Apr182012

Life is so hard when you’re not yet five

Things that have caused my daughter to burst into tears in the past few days:

  • If we get a bounce house for her birthday party, all the party guests might want to use jump in it at the same time and there won’t be any room for her.
  • What if, when we get to the toy store, they don’t have the Barbie she wants and she can’t find anything else in the hundreds of thousands of items they have in stock that could make her happy?
  • In a fit of artistic glee, she traced around her “Fresh Beat Band” poster in her room with a blue marker, staining the paint.  Now we can never make the wall pink again, ever.  (Admittedly, I don’t want her coloring on the wall, but the fact that we still have a half-gallon of pink paint in the living room closet just barely calmed her down.)
  • She knocked down one of the pushpins holding a corner of her “Tangled” poster and couldn’t bear the thought of waiting until morning to fix it.
  • The weekend is still three days away.
  • Robbie always wakes up earlier than her and gets first pick of what we watch on TV.
  • She accidentally drew a line across a wall in a maze in one of her coloring books, and there’s just no way to recover from that.
  • And 52 “what-if” scenarios that require many leaps of preschooler logic to follow.

She’s exhausting.

However, knowing that I used to tell jokes and then cry when people laughed at them, I understand that she comes by this honestly.

So I guess what I’m saying is, I owe my mother a drink.  Or a hundred.

Wednesday
Apr112012

Well

At the very least, I finally have some visible bruises after an injury.  But, I must admit, I didn't really want so many:

Good thing I was playing with my phone while walking down the stairs on Sunday, or else I would have missed all those awesome Facebook posts about what people were having for dinner.  WORTH IT.